Associate Professor, NICB.

School of Biotechnology, DCU



Phone: +353 700 5288


DCU Staff Profile


Dr. Ciarán Fagan seeks to improve the stability of enzymes.
Enzymes are ideal “green” catalysts: they can enable newer processes that are less hazardous and less costly than traditional methods, while producing less waste.
Enzymes’ many industrial applications range from detergents to the food and (bio)pharma industries. Unfortunately, enzymes may become unstable and lose their catalytic abilities under the demands of process conditions, or upon prolonged use or extended storage.
Dr. Fagan uses two main strategies to increase the stability of enzymes, namely protein engineering and chemical modification. He has prepared enzymes that are more tolerant of heat, organic solvents or oxidizing conditions, or that give improved biosensor performance.
Although he has worked on numerous enzymes, his special focus is on plant peroxidases (which are used for a variety of purposes). These, together with a “resurrected” ancient plant peroxidase, an evolutionary precursor of the modern-day enzymes, provide opportunities for postgraduate research.

2011-14 Head, School of Biotechnology.
2009  Invited speaker, 8th International Conference on Protein Stabilisation – ProStab2009, Apr 14-17, Graz, Austria.
2006-10 Deputy Head, School of Biotechnology.
2004 School Research Convenor (until 2008); Promoted Senior Lecturer (Dec).
1999-to date Member of National Centre for Sensor Research, DCU.
1997 Published 200-page sole-author Stabilizing Protein Function, Springer, Berlin ISBN 3 540 63189 5.
1990 Appointed to permanent academic position. 1987-90 Postdoc researcher, temporary lecturer, NIHED/ DCU.
1984-7 Noctech Ltd (later Cambridge Diagnostics), Galway: immunodiagnostics development.
1981-4 WBE Ltd (later InterBio), Dublin: microbial biomass product development and technical services.
1982 PhD, University of Dublin (Trinity College) for 1979-81 research on mammalian arylsulphatases (Biochemistry Dept.; 2 peer-reviewed papers, 1 conference paper).
1978 BA (Mod), H2.1, Biochemistry, University of Dublin (Trinity College).

Total Graduations and Publications: 9 PhD, 3 MSc Graduates.
>40 peer-reviewed papers, 8 refereed reviews (including 2 invited articles), 1 sole-author book, 10 book chapters, 2 patent applications, 8 conference/ other papers.

Selected Publications

  1. Hui Ma, Ciarán Ó’Fágáin, Richard O'Kennedy (2019) 'Unravelling enhancement of antibody fragment stability – role of format structure and cysteine modification'. Journal of Immunological Methods, 464: 57-63.
  2. Ó’Fágáin, Ciarán; Colliton, Keith. (2017) 'Storage and Lyophilization of Pure Proteins' In: Walls, Dermot, Loughran, Sinead (eds). Protein Chromatography Methods and Protocols 2nd ed. NY: Humana Press-Springer Nature. 159-190.
  3. Loughran NB, O'Connell MJ, O'Connor B, Ó'Fágáin C. (2014) 'Stability properties of an ancient plant peroxidase'. BIOCHIMIE, 104: 156-159.
  4. Loughran, NB; Hinde, S; McCormick-Hill, S; Leidal, KG; Bloomberg, S; Loughran, ST; O’Connor, B; Ó´Fágáin, C; Nauseef WJ; O’Connell, MJ. (2012) 'Functional Consequence of Positive Selection Revealed Through Rational Mutagenesis of Human Myeloperoxidase'. MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, 29: 2039-2046.
  5. McEntee G, Minguzzi S, O’Brien K, Ben Larbi N, Loscher C, Ó’Fágáin C, & Parle-McDermott A. (2011) 'The former annotated human pseudogene dihydrofolate reductase-like 1 (DHFRL1) is expressed and functional'. NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES. PROCEEDINGS (PRINT), 108: 15157-15162.

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